Few creations are more associated with joy or more symbolic of the sweet life than cake. After all, it is so much more than dessert.
As a book about cake would demand, this one is a multilayered, amply frosted, delicious concoction with a slice (or more) for everyone. Let Me Eat Cake is not a book about baking cake, but about eating it.
Author Leslie F. Miller embarks on a journey (not a journey cake, although it's in there) into the moist white underbelly of the cake world. She visits factories and local bakeries and wedding cake boutiques. She interviews famous chefs like Duff Goldman of Food Network's Ace of Cakes and less famous ones like Roland Winbeckler, who sculpts life-size human figures out of hundreds of pounds of pound cake and buttercream frosting. She takes decorating classes, shares recipes, and samples the best cakes and the worst.
The book is held together by the hero on a quest, one that traces cake history and tradition. If we were to bake a cake to celebrate the birth of cake (cake is an Old Norse word, first used around 1230), it is hard to say how many candles would go on top. Though the meaning of the word (originally "lump of something"), not to mention our expectations of its ingredients, has changed over time, we now celebrate cake as the coming together of flour, sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla, baking powder, and a pinch of salt.
And what a celebration. Baking a cake is hard work, but tasting it is pure pleasure. So put on some elastic-waist pants and grab a fork.
Leslie F. Miller is a writer, graphic designer, photographer, mosaicist, mom, wife, daughter, and cake lover. She has written for publications such as Weight Watchers magazine, the Baltimore Sun, and Baltimore City Paper. She lives in Baltimore with her husband and daughter, where she tried to resist the constant urge to eat cake.